Until Furoshiki Hawaii is made
The world changed drastically after the 2020 corona pandemic.
Hawaii has been forced to make major changes, and we are still in the midst of that difficulty.
March 2020 in Hawaii
March 2020 was an unforgettable day. Regarding the impact of the new coronavirus, although rumors were flowing around December 2019, it was like a fire on the opposite bank, and tourists from Japan came almost the same as the previous year, and the impact of Hawaii I felt like I was still slow.
People from the continental United States sometimes looked at Asians, including Japanese, with discriminatory eyes, but no one was so worried because the number of infected people in Hawaii was still small. It was February.
However, suddenly in March, an announcement called lockdown was made, and from March 18th, shops other than the essential business had to be forcibly closed.
Of course, Muumuu Rainbow, which ran rental costumes, will not be an essential business, so we have to tighten it.
At this time, I felt very complicated because the shops that were open were also open while I was worried.
Since we are in business, we naturally have to pay rent, so it is the manager who wants to increase sales. However, I was worried about whether it would be okay to open my mind to the safety of employees, and even if I forcibly opened it, I would be fined if I found it. Looking at it, I realized that there are various types.
Nowadays, I think both are correct rather than either.
By the way, at Muumuu Rainbow, which rents costumes for wedding attendees,
It was a very busy week with how to respond to lockdowns and how to respond to employees in response to the successive notifications of reservation cancellations.
It was a day when every day changed rapidly because the US government provided support such as PPP, so I was busy preparing for it and checking the confirmation of the contents.
There were days I had never experienced before, such as banning what I could do today the next day.
By the way, how will Muumuu Rainbow steer after that?
A turning point in April 2020
Muumuu Rainbow Crisis since its inception
Two weeks after the lockdown in Hawaii, there was a line at a local fabric store and there was no mask! People are beginning to hear voices asking what to do.
In response, the Hawaiian government immediately changed its guidelines to "sell fabrics is an essential business," and the news came out. When I was watching it, I immediately thought, "I have no choice but to do this now!" And immediately consulted with the employee. We immediately recruited volunteers to ask if we could distribute used clothes and excess cloth to local people for free.
In Hawaii, the fabric mart is the largest, and I heard that there are lines every day, rubber cannot be bought, and there is no cotton fabric.
At Muumuu Rainbow, we decided to cut the excess cloth into a size that could make a mask, copy the mask pattern, pack it one by one, and distribute it free of charge in the city. It was said that it would be a problem if people gathered together due to hygiene problems even if it was distributed free of charge, but please cooperate with Nijiya, a Japanese food supermarket, and the main distribution will be by Nijiya. I did.
I'm glad that customers can get it for free, where can I get a free mask kit? We received inquiries such as, and focused on what we could do at that time.
Initiatives as a Hawaiian fabric shop
At first, we distributed the dough for free, but then why not try selling the surplus dough, so we started selling the dough online in April. At first, I was wondering if Japanese customers would be able to purchase it as before, but now I am receiving orders from the continental United States. Employees also made shifts while ensuring safety as much as possible, promoted online support, and transformed into a business for American customers that had never existed before.
Since it was a business in the corona, there were various difficulties. Even so, it was a great encouragement for American customers to give us high reviews and warm messages.
As a Hawaiian fabric specialty store, we have decided to promote a new business centered on online under the name Fabric Hawaii. I was able to cover the rent at the last minute, but above all, I was able to do business with great satisfaction by being encouraged by the customers. I really appreciate it.
Looking back on the year of corona outbreak
2020 was a tough time, but it was also a year that gave me a chance to meet customers from the continental United States, who I hadn't been involved with until now, and to gain a deeper understanding of American culture. Although it was difficult, I was satisfied because I thought that a very fulfilling year had passed.
In 2021, the news came in where I was hoping for a new turn with a new city. I felt that the situation would worsen in Japan due to the occurrence of the second wave of corona.
To be honest, it's almost a year, but can the business be sustainable? I was worried every day. This forced us to decide what we needed to do this year.
There was a sense of crisis that the stores that had been rented until then would not be in time unless they were reduced in size and started full-scale new businesses.
However, I continued to worry about which business I should be involved in.
To add to that, vaccinations are steadily progressing in the United States, and masks are no longer needed. Sales of Hawaiian fabrics so far have decreased by half to one-fifth from the previous year, and we have to think about what to do in the future.
As of June 2021
Second challenge after corona
The Muumuu Rainbow rental shop that I had until then was reduced to one-fifth, and I shifted to finding a way to overcome it online.
This Furoshiki Hawaii started with the idea of trying various things that can be made using Hawaiian fabrics and starting a business.
This is still in the starting stage. However, since I want more people to enjoy Hawaii casually, I think that it is a practical product that anyone can easily make and use by making it a furoshiki.
We aim to provide products and services that will help convey the culture of Japan and Hawaii to Japanese and non-Japanese people.